Business travel demand will lag by 12 to 18 months and 2019 levels may never return, according to Ed Bastian, CEO of Delta Air Lines, on a second quarter earnings call. “The number of trips that the average road warrior takes I’m sure is going to come down in certain cases,” he told analysts, noting that companies are realizing that video calls can sometimes be more efficient. Nevertheless, he said he doesn’t think the industry is in a “permanently depressed” business travel situation for the foreseeable future, saying “fundamentally business travel is going to come back and it's going to come back at scale.” While the number of trips for “road warriors” will decline, certain types of business meetings aimed at luring clients and visiting sites will resume, he said. Moreover, at some point, international barriers to flying will cease. “We’re talking to our corporates all the time,” Bastian said. “They are starting to come back — in small numbers, but they’re starting.” Corporations may not yet be sanctioning travel, he said, but “the individuals are traveling,” a trend that is evident as Delta evaluates SkyMiles accounts.